Something occurred to me while I was watching this episode: of the four main characters, the only one with a stable relationship is the mob boss. Frank and his wife squabble a bit, but they have each other’s backs. Ani is getting investigated after breaking it off with a subordinate. Ray is divorced and seeing the son who might not be his son on the sly. Paul is still deep in the closet, and panics when he wakes up realizing he slept with his lover again.
Though Paul’s jump to propose to his pregnant ex-girlfriend? Yeah, probably won’t end well.
But as I was watching, it occurs to me that this show really isn’t bad. It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination, but the mystery seems to be proceeding well. The cops find some clues. Ray is sharing with Ani how corrupt the mayor of Vinci is, and how he wants her taken down. He isn’t sharing that he gives Frank a lot of information too, but Frank has his own problems rebuilding a crime empire he thought he walked away from.
But there’s good drama here. The parenting thing and the relationship thing make for interesting themes. There’s blatant corruption all over. And man, that violent shoot-out at the end of this episode was something of a surprise. Season one had that raid of Reggie Ledoux’s swamp hideout, but that was nothing compared to what happened in the middle of Vinci. Plenty of cops, protestors at a nearby strike, a bus driver, and the main suspect Ani, Ray, and Paul were looking for are all shot and many killed.
What could have made this season better? I can think of a few things. Paul’s subplot doesn’t make sense. He can go. Frank could stand to be in a smaller role and the role could have been cast with a better actor. If the show had just been Ani and Ray as a central relationship, like how season one focused on two cops and their relationship with each other, True Detective could have continued with the high quality of storytelling the show used in season one. It didn’t have to be a mirror of Rust and Marty, but it would have made the show more compact and hard-hitting, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams are doing a fine job. It’s just too bad they have to share the spotlight with less developed or miscast characters.
I’m actually enjoying this more than I thought I would, but it seriously could be a heck of a lot better.